Proposed Government caps on standing charges levied by waste collection operators could leave them out of pocket when new pay-by-weight rules come into force next month, according to Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI).
From 1 July, new legislation means customers will pay by weight for their brown and black bins in an effort to encourage them to better manage their waste, reducing costs for those who do. Some waste collection operators plan to increase standing charges to cover the cost of administering the scheme but this has been criticised by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney, who says the Government may put caps in place.
Neil McDonnell, General Manager of FTAI, said: “The requirement for waste collection operators to comply with the new legislation has significantly increased costs. Typically, the cost of modifying a bin truck has been of the order of €28,000, which has to be recovered from decreasing levels of domestic waste collection, and increasing levels of free green bin collections. Operators have therefore introduced varying levels of fixed charge to recover them.”
Bin charges were originally introduced to limit the amount of domestic waste sent to land-fill, diverting food waste from landfill, and to encourage recycling in line with targets set by the EU. Ireland has succeeded greatly in this, with the amount of waste going into landfill significantly reduced over the last ten years. The Government charges operators €75 per tonne for land-fill waste – a 300% increase on the tonnage charge levied in 2009.
Mr McDonnell said: “The administration and IT requirements of advising customers of their bin weights is considerable. Similarly, with the reduction in the number of landfill sites, significant volumes of domestic weight must be stored prior to shipment to continental Europe for incineration.
“These fixed overheads for waste collection must be met – Government caps on standing charges could make some of these services unviable.”